Winter Festivals Celebrated this February in Barrie, Orillia and Simcoe Counties

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Barrie’s Winterfest, the Orillia Winter Carnival and the Penetanguishene Winterama all offer family fun this February.

From the popular Midway to the ice skating oval, Penetang idol contests for youth and adults to live entertainment and a bonfire, it is no wonder this festival has drawn families and friends together for 63 years.

The city of Barrie celebrates Winterfest, one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario, February 5-6. Heritage Park is the home of a polar bear dip, horse-drawn wagon rides, dogsled rides, mini-tube run, lumberjack shows, giant snow slide and ice maze. The Festival of Ice coincides with Winterfest featuring 300 pound blocks of ice carved into themed sculptures. “Winterfest is a family event on Barrie’s breathtaking waterfront. I bring my kids every year and come early to enjoy the pancake breakfast,” say Kathleen Trainor, executive director of Tourism Barrie. “Make it a family weekend getaway and stay at one of Barrie’s family friendly hotels.”    

The Orillia Winter Carnival February 11-13 offers fun and excitement with Ontario winter activities designed to entertain and challenge the entire family. The weekend kicks off Friday February 11 with opening ceremonies at Shiver’s Castle, the fun of the Midway and the Shivers Shakedown Youth dance. Saturday and Sunday starts with a community pancake breakfast and activities both days including snow sculpture contests, polar bear dip, petting zoo, helicopter rides and a Valentine’s Adult Carnival dance. Horse, sleigh and dogsled rides, chili cook offs, public skating and Casino Rama’s fireworks spectacular ensure there is something for everyone.

February 18-20, the 63rd annual Penetanguishene Winterama, the oldest winter carnival in Ontario, jump starts with no less than 18 activities to participate in on just Friday the 18th alone. From the popular Midway to the ice skating oval, Penetang idol contests for youth and adults to live entertainment and a bonfire, it is no wonder this festival has drawn families and friends together for 63 years. Other activities include a hockey tournament, dog sled rides, snowshoeing, toboggan races and the Rotary polar plunge.

Barrie, Orillia and Simcoe counties are the home to some of the best maple syrup in the world. A visit to Shaw’s Catering in Hawkestone to experience maple syrup production is a must do winter activity. A team of Percheron horses takes guests through a maple wonderland on a one mile loop meandering through the middle of the network of tubing that connects 6000 taps. The large mature trees give shelter from the wind and create a perfect atmosphere for fun. When the snow melts, the sleigh is traded for a wagon, with rides available on weekends during March and April. Shaw’s encourages visitors to ask which days there may be a possibility of boiling sap when there is the rich smell of maple sap steam in the air.

For more information on winter festivals in Barrie, Orillia and Simcoe counties, visit http://www.region7transition.ca/media/

Contact
Erin Sufrin | PUNCH Canada| O: 416.360.6522| erins(at)punchcanada(dot)com

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